- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Actor Dudley Moore, who became an unlikely Hollywood heartthrob portraying a cuddly pipsqueak whose charm melted hearts in "10" and "Arthur," died yesterday at his home in New Jersey, a spokeswoman said. He was 66.
Mr. Moore died at 11 a.m. EST, said publicist Michelle Bega in Los Angeles. The British-born actor died of pneumonia as a complication of progressive supranuclear palsy, she said.
There was more than a touch of autobiography in "10," the 1979 film in which Mr. Moore played a musician determined to marry a perfect woman, but the happy ending eluded him in real life. Four marriages ended in divorce.
He confessed to being driven by feelings of inferiority because of his working-class origins in Dagenham, East London, and his height of 5 feet 2 inches. In later life, he also spoke of the pain of being rejected by his mother because he was born with a deformed left foot.
Comedians, he said in an interview with Newsday in 1980, are often driven by such feelings. "I certainly did feel inferior. Because of class. Because of strength. Because of height. … I guess if I'd been able to hit somebody in the nose, I wouldn't have been a comic."
Music was Mr. Moore's entree into public performance, first as a chorister and organist in his parish church in Dagenham and then in 1960 as a young Oxford graduate recruited for the hit four-man comedy review "Beyond the Fringe."
"Fringe," which played two years in London and then moved to Broadway, contained perhaps the greatest assembly of young comic talent in Britain in the 20th century. Mr. Moore was teamed with Alan Bennett, later a successful playwright; Jonathan Miller, the cerebral opera producer and medical doctor; and Peter Cook, a surreal comic talent and also a famously dissipated one.
Mr. Moore's whimsical sense of humor fitted oddly with the more savage satirical style of his partners. "Apart from his musical contributions to the show," Mr. Cook wrote in Esquire in 1974, "Dudley's suggestions were treated with benign contempt by the rest of us."
One of Mr. Moore's celebrated contributions to the show was his impersonation of the pianist Dame Myra Hess playing a bombastic version of "Colonel Bogey's March" that he couldn't seem to end.
Mr. Moore and Mr. Cook formed a fast friendship and later teamed on television as Dud and Pete on "Not Only … but Also," a sketch comedy series. They also plumbed the depths of taste and decency in a series of recordings as "Derek and Clive."
Mr. Cook and Mr. Moore made their screen debuts in "The Wrong Box" in 1966 and followed up the next year with another success, "Bedazzled."
Mr. Moore and Mr. Cook teamed again in 1971 for a comedy review titled "Beyond the Fridge." It was a success in London and a smash on Broadway in the 1973-74 season, and the pair won a special Tony Award for their "unique contribution to the theater of comedy."
Mr. Cook returned to England, but Mr. Moore settled in Southern California, where he met the director Blake Edwards in a therapy group. When George Segal walked out of Mr. Edwards' production of "10," the director turned to Mr. Moore.
The 1979 film, co-starring Bo Derek, established Mr. Moore as a Hollywood star. Two years later, he had another: "Arthur," in which he played a rich drunk who falls for Liza Minnelli.
That marked the peak of Mr. Moore's film career, although he made several more films, including a sequel to "Arthur" in 1988.
Mr. Moore continued to make music part of his life, both as a jazz pianist and as a parodist.
"I can't imagine not having music in my life, playing for myself or for other people. If I was asked, 'Which would you give up,' I'd have to say acting," he said in an Associated Press interview in 1988.
Mr. Moore married Suzy Kendall in 1958, Tuesday Weld in 1975, Brogan Lane in 1988 and Nicole Rothschild in 1994. He had a son, Patrick, by his second marriage and a son, Nicholas, by his fourth.
Mr. Moore is survived by his sister, Barbara Stevens, and his two sons. A funeral was being arranged, and a memorial service will be planned for an unspecified date.


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